Bridge to Wellness

August: Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

by Gary Hicks

I love hot weather—the hotter, the better. But when it’s rainy and the mosquitoes start swarming—that’s a different story. That’s the perfect time to exercise indoors. A lot can still be accomplished during those times when outside conditions are unfavorable. I understand that working out in a basement may not be the most desirable option, but we shouldn’t allow blood-sucking insects to hinder our progress. 

I’m going to throw in a bit of a twist for this month. Let’s look at interesting exercises you can do using items that are common in home environments. Following are two ideas you can use for exercises that use different household items. 

Household Item #1: Laundry basket and clothing

Exercise: Place a regular-sized laundry basket on the floor and fill it with folded towels for additional weight to your liking or ability. Bend over at the waist, keeping a slight bend in the knees, and grab the side handles of the basket. Remain in the bent-over position and lift the basket toward your chest by bending your elbows (similar to a rowing motion). Slowly lower the basket to the starting position on the ground. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps. 

Household Item #2: Plastic grocery bag and books

Exercise: Fill a plastic grocery bag with several books. You may want to consider double bagging if the books were heavy reading! In the standing position, hold the bag with your right hand and let it hang at your side. Keeping your arm straight, lift the bag of books in front of your body until your hand is level with your eyes. Slowly lower the bag to the starting position. Now lift the bag to the side of your body until your hand is at your ear level. In both cases, focus on trying to keep your arm straight. Slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat this movement several times alternating a front raise and a side raise. Repeat for 8 reps each. Now do 8 reps using your other arm. Reduce the weight if the exercise is too difficult.

Monthly Fitness Challenge for August

The Monthly Challenge will be to share, on Facebook, additional exercises that readers can do with the items listed here. Or, suggest other common household items and exercises our fitness readers can try with those items. Here’s the Facebook link:

Upcoming SAWC or wellness-related Community events

  •  Fridays, 4-7pm: Open Air Market of Stockbridge holds weekly markets on Friday on the Stockbridge Town Square, near the gazebo, Market Music from 5:30 -7pm.
  • Check out the free WAVE shuttle bus to Chelsea on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. For more info or to make a reservation (not required): 734-475-9494. For more information about WAVE,
  • Clean-up Club: Next gathering will be Saturday, August 21, at 10am at the playgrounds between Smith and Heritage Schools. Help to freshen things up for a return to school on the 23rd.   All welcome! Bring gloves, rakes, and a water bottle!
  • Monday, August 9: Outreach’s Fresh Food Distribution for anyone who needs food—no registration required; just show up. Jeruel Baptist Church parking lot, 4-5pm. Curbside pick-up.
  • Each Wednesday from 1-3pm: Pop-up Food Distribution at Outreach for anyone in the school district who needs food. Just pull up to Outreach doors in the parking lot at Elm and Cherry Streets in Stockbridge
  • Pedal for Prevention: Join in this virtual riding club and support your local SRSLY Coalition. Bike, run, or walk and keep track of your progress to share with others!  Register for $30—the clock starts ticking on July 16 and ends on August 13.
  • Movies on the Stockbridge Town Square, Time: 7pm. Dates: August 20 (“Tom & Jerry”); Sept. 17 (“ET”); Oct. 31 (“Hocus Pocus”).
  • Find nonprofit services/event info, resources, and connections at This is the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation’s newest endeavorhelping nonprofits in the five towns of Stockbridge, Chelsea, Grass Lake, Manchester, and Dexter get the word out about their services and events and connecting you with information you may need about mental health, housing, physical fitness, and more.

This column is sponsored by the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition. Remember, if you have health challenges that could hamper your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before taking on a new exercise regimen. Gary A. Hicks, a veteran police sergeant with a passion for fitness, writes the fitness portion. He has over 35 years of experience in teaching, coaching, martial arts instruction, and police academy instruction.

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